The number of reported police incidents in Forest Park rose by 20 percent from 2012 to 2013, but most of that hike can be accounted for by a spike in police-initiated traffic stops, said Forest Park Deputy Chief Tom Aftanas.
The village this week released yearly statistics submitted to the Illinois State Police. Police reported 1,849 criminal complaints in 2013, up from 1,531 incidents in 2012.
According to the village records, Forest Park police issued 358 more traffic citations in 2013 than 2012. The police department’s two traffic safety checkpoints Sept. 27 and Nov. 23 netted 23 arrests. The highest months for traffic citations were March and April with 506 and 407 citations issued respectively.
Police reported 173 felony arrests in 2013, down from 186 in 2012.
Several higher profile crimes resulted in felony arrests in 2013.
In June, Forest Park police used phone records to capture Cedric Q. Bolling, 25, of Chicago. Bolling allegedly used a sledgehammer to smash in the back door of a currency exchange at Roosevelt Road and Harlem Avenue. Bolling reportedly called a cab after getting away with $4,462. Police tracked him by cell phone signal to a residence in Stickney within a week.
Forest Park police used fingerprints left behind on a 7-Eleven cash register as evidence to nab Travis Cook, 53, of Chicago and charge him with the aggravated robbery of the convenience store, Aug. 4. Cook’s fingerprint made the rounds, as he had more than 50 prior arrests by Chicago area police.
Incidents of major crimes were slightly up in every category of crime reported except robbery and criminal sexual assault.
Homicide. No homicides occurred in Forest Park in 2013.
Criminal sexual assault. Zero criminal sexual assaults were reported in 2013, down from two incidents in 2012. Aggravated assault and battery incidents were basically unchanged at 24 in 2013, down from 25 in 2012.
Robbery. Robberies fell by almost 40 percent in Forest Park in 2013. Police reported 17 incidents of robbery, down from 27 in 2012.
Burglary. Burglariesincreased in Forest Park in 2013 rising to 91 incidents compared to 86 in 2012.
“We had a spate of burglaries to autos and garages,” Aftanas said. In June, 25 burglaries were reported, whereas the village reported fewer than 10 incidents of burglary every other month of the year.
Theft. Forest Parkpolice reported a slight rise in thefts (including shoplifting) from 2012 to 2013. Police reported 637 in 2013, up from 608 in 2012.
Shoplifting at CVS on Circle Avenue, and Walmart, Kmart and Ultra Foods in the Forest Park Mall make up most of the shoplifting incidents, Aftanas said.
“The better the security at those stores, the more incidents are reported,” he added.
Police made 25 percent more theft arrests in 2013. The number of theft arrests increased to 335, up from 262 in 2012.
Motor vehicle theft. The number ofcar thefts stayed statistically even during 2013 from 2012, rising slightly to 54 from 51. Aftanas said a spate of Dodge Caravan thefts hit during the summer. In July, 2013, at least seven cars, most of them Dodge Caravans were discovered with peeled steering columns and pried-off ignition switches.
“Whoever this is, he’s not good at stealing cars,” said Aftanas at the time. Police made two motor vehicle theft arrests in 2013, up from none in 2012.
Police reported a rise in domestic violence incidents in 2013, up to 109 from 82 reported in 2012.
Police also reported a spike of cannabis incidents up to 113 in 2013 from 59 in 2012. Aftanas attributed the rise to the increased number of auto-stops made by Forest Park police in 2013. Sixty persons were arrested with illegal drugs in 2013, up from 44 arrests in 2012.